One Saturday morning, Beam reminded me that I’d promised to fix Shoeshine’s paw for her ever since we came back to Leiston from Singapore. Shoeshine is the black kitten we bought from a small shop during our six-month residence in HK.

I took the sewing kit and started working. The other paw fell off shortly after we bought it, and Dad fixed it when later we went back to Taiwan for holiday. Somehow, the picture of Dad sewing so wholeheartedly, with his spectacles on, played in the background like a soundtrack to that weekend… Just like the picture of our last hug which is deeply embedded in my head. Such sentimental reminiscence. It’s incredible that it has been almost two years since his untimely passing.

In fact, Dad’s been showing up in my dreams recently. I suppose I just haven’t got over it.

A few nights ago, after lights out, Beam Beam and I started to chat about the day, as usual.

“I went to drama lesson today.” Beam reported.

“Really?” I was surprised, because she’s declared ‘No lessons!’ when the term first started. “So how do you like it? Remember that Speech & Drama class used to be your favourite in Singapore? It’s a shame that we had to quit.”

“Oh? Why?” Beam does need  a memory boost once in a while.

“Don’t you remember? It clashed with Jie Min.” Jie Min is the primary school she attended in Singapore.

“Oh yuh! Now I remember.”

“When Gong Gong and Po Po visited us together for the last time, they followed us to the drama school. Gong Gong even dozed off while waiting for you.”

“Hahaha ~” Beam giggled, “Gong GOng really liked to sleep. Remember every time we watched a movie together, Gong Gong and Po Po just fell asleep?” She’s got very fond recollection of Gong Gong and Po Po.

“Yuh ~” I beamed at the lovely memory too.

“When we visited Gong Gong in the morgue, he really looked like he was in a sound sleep…” She recounted.

Frankly, I was a little taken aback by the words. But then again, it’s good if you can talk about death at ease.

“So were you scared?” I asked curiously.

“Nope. I wasn’t. But the music from the other room gave me the creeps.” She was referring to the chanting monks.

A sigh of relief. “Yuh, Gong Gong is happy with Jesus now, just like Meeloo, Milk Milk, Sesame and Coco Puff. When our time comes, we’ll meet again up there.”

Beam fell silent. I thought she must be ready for sleep which is the usual way we end the bedtime chat.

After a while, to my surprise, Beam talked again,  “Actually, I’m missing Gong GOng very much…” I could tell that she was trying to  restrain the deep sorrow as her voice cracked.

I turned and embraced her, “Me too. And I’m sure that Gong Gong is missing us very very much as well.” In Mummy’s reassuring arms,  Beam finally let loose a stream of tears.

The death of a beloved family member is just so profound. I wonder when I’ll be able to get over it. Perhaps never will?

Beam Beam didn’t shed a tear for Dad’s passing, not even during the funeral. Only after we escorted the casket to the crematorium she  whispered to me, “I almost cried just now.” I don’t think it means that she didn’t care or she was being cold-blooded. Beam is after all a very thoughtful child with a sensitive soul. Perhaps, it was the fact that I’d been so grieved at Dad’s untimely passing which made her decide to put away her own feelings so as to make the transition easier for me.

*sigh*… Well, Dad, see you around…

某個周末早晨,祥提醒我,Shoeshine 的爪爪鬆脫了,新加坡回來後我就答應要幫忙縫補的。Shoeshine 是我們住香港的時候,在一家專門進口日本精品的小店鋪買的小黑貓。

我拿出針線包,仔細檢查 Shoeshine 的爪爪。完好的那一隻,其實買了沒幾個月就鬆脫了,所以我們回臺灣的時候,是爸爸幫我們補的。不知怎的,那個畫面給人印象特別深刻:爸爸戴著老花眼鏡,在燈光下,一針一線細細地縫著。

「你記得公公縫的樣子嗎?」我幽幽地問道。

「當然啊!公公最厲害了!」祥用力點點頭。

爪爪很小,所以不到五分鐘就好了。但是那個畫面,始終在腦海縈繞不去,就像最後一次在娘家院子裡擁抱爸爸道別的畫面,隨著二哥的車緩緩開出巷子,我頻頻回頭、揮手,爸爸有些悵然若失的神情,呆呆地望著車子遠離,手仍停留在半空中。。。竟已是將近兩年前的事了嗎?

前幾天夜裡,熄了燈,上了床,我們照例哈啦了一陣。

「我今天去上了戲劇課。」祥報告。

「喔?」我有點竊喜,「喜歡嗎?以前在新加坡,你就最愛戲劇課了,可惜上了小學就不得不放棄。」

「是嗎?為甚麼放棄?」祥有時候是個小迷糊蛋。

「你忘啦?上課時間衝突啊。」

「哦~」

「公公婆婆最後一次一起來新加坡,還有跟我們去的,記得嗎?結果等你下課的時候,公公還睡著了說。」

「哈哈哈~」祥笑了出來,「對吼!公公好愛睡覺。每次我們放電影給公公婆婆看,他們都睡著。」這是對於公公婆婆的可愛回憶。

我也忍俊不住,「是啊~」

「我們在殯儀館看公公的時候,公公就真的好像只是在睡覺而已。」祥突地這麼說,而語氣間仍帶著笑意。

我有點驚訝,小傢伙話鋒竟然轉到這兒,不過生死這種事,能夠開看是最好的:「你當時怕嗎?」

「不怕啊,但是其它房間傳來的音樂感覺很可怕。」她指的是道士誦經。

我小小鬆了口氣,「是啊,公公只是搬去跟 耶穌住了,就像咪嚕、謬謬、芝麻還有可可奶油泡芙,等我們時候到了,就會再見面的。」

祥安靜了。我沒多想,因為我們睡前的閒嗑牙就是這樣,總有某人會先陣亡。

沒想到一會兒,祥又發話了:「其實,我很想念公公。。。」聽得出小獸極力想控制自己的情緒。

我轉過身,伸手把小獸抱在懷裡,「我也是啊,公公一定也很想念我們。」媽媽的懷抱大概總是讓人很能放鬆吧,小獸開始啜泣了。

回台奔喪期間,祥始終沒掉過一滴淚,只有在把靈柩送到火葬場的那一程,祥偷偷跟我說,她差一點哭了,因為想公公。我也多少有些好奇,因為祥和公公非常親,還堅持要叫"爺爺";但,我也明白,祥是個天性細緻、體貼的小傢伙,沒掉淚不代表什麼;我猜,也許是我當時很無用的表現讓她決定把自己的情感收藏好,免得替大人添麻煩。

失去摯愛真的是很令人難受的一件事,我都不知道自己什麼時候才能完全走出傷痛,也許永遠沒辦法?

爸,請你等等我們喔。

縫好了!Done!!

祥幫 Shoeshine 作了一個車車。Beam made a car for Shoeshine.